Norfolk Railway Society
Founded 1955 www.norfolkrailwaysocie ty.org.uk
Volume 61 No. 4 July/Aug 2016
news from railways in and around Norfolk
National Network The Weybourne Wanderer
GE LINES UPDATE: July
GE LINES NEWS
Greater Anglia franchise renewal:
The Brexit vote has delayed the
announcement of the party (Abellio, First
Group or National Express) selected to
run the new franchise commencing in
October 2016, originally due within days
of the vote. All bidders have been in
further dialogue with the Department of
Transport to discuss the financial effects
of the vote, principally the adverse
currency exchange rate between sterling
and other currencies and the likely
slowing-down of the British economy.
As at 22nd July a decision was believed
to be imminent.
GEML weekend engineering “The Weybourne Wanderer” had left Hastings at 0610 and reached Holt at
blockades: 1349. It left Sheringham at 1610 and was due back in Hastings at 2310!
It simply could not last – through Norwich Amazingly, the trip was a sell-out and the 1950s DMU was augmented to six
to London weekend services that is. In coaches with two normal profile Mark 1s in the middle. Here, we see the return
early July Network Rail announced that passing Salhouse on the first leg of the long journey home on 23rd July (Richard
from mid-September weekend services Adderson).
would terminate at Witham (historically
Ingatestone has been the chosen London
area destination) for 11 weekends to facilitate more Crossrail- Attempts are being made to ensure that the alternative rail
related work and further OLE renewal works. A major junction route between London and Norwich via Cambridge can be
is to be relaid at Shenfield. maintained – for 3 of the weekends that route is meant to be
In This Issue closed to allow canopy etc work at the new Cambridge
Parkway station to be undertaken.
Track Report 1 Norwich Long John Hill underbridge:
National Network 4 Closed to road traffic since May 2015, this bridge will be
4 replaced over a 3 day period at the end of the August Bank
Heritage, Narrow-Gauge & Miniature 5 Holiday. Beginning in June the new bridge structure has been
created in situ on the city side of the present bridge standing
Away from the Tracks on the closed public highway. Construction was well
advanced by late July – please see Peter’s image (over). The
Pick-up Goods new bridge structure will be slid into position once the present
bridge has been demolished.
NRS News 10 Abellio marks Wimbledon:
On 27th June, the first day of this year’s Wimbledon tennis
Features 11 tournament, passengers arriving at Diss station in the
12 morning were greeted by bunting and a net (with tennis balls
Strange but True – the GWR in Norwich (Edward 15 attached) on the platform with two staff wearing white head
Mann) sweat bands dispensing punnets of fresh strawberries with
The Embankment & a Tale of Quirks (50 Years sugar and cream additives available. A nice gesture (the
in the Making) (David Pearce) Editor has ruled out of play any puns such as “what a
Working Timetable racket”).
There is now even a micro-brewery at Diss station
Norwich station relighting scheme:
By the end of July new platform lighting columns and fittings
were being erected at Norwich following several weeks
preparatory work laying new cable ducts. The familiar globe
shaped light fittings will soon be consigned to history.
Class 68 short set:
To compensate for the loss of 170204 (involved in the
collision with a tractor near Thetford on 10th April) – the set
was taken to Kilmarnock for repair during June – a second
hauled short set has been leased from DRS. Formed of 3
coaches in the former Anglia livery the set is top and tailed by
Class 68 locomotives, UK’s newest diesel locos, which
compare with perhaps the oldest in mainline passenger
service, the 1960s built Class 37s!.
Norfolk Railway Society Long John Hill replacement bridge under construction
(Founded 1955) (Peter Adds).
President: Ken Mills, Esq. Driver training took place in the week commencing 4th July
and the set entered service on the Wherry lines from 11th July
Committee and Officers 2016-2017 Telephone using 68016/23.
Chairm an Ray Halliday 90001 – 90015:
The last remaining non AGA liveried Class 90, 90003
Vice Chairman Brian Kirton Raedwald of East Anglia, to retain its historic (part National
Express) livery was hauled to Crewe by 37422 for a G exam
Past Chairman & Brian Cornwell on 23rd May. It will subsequently return to Crown Point
Outdoor Visits repainted by DB Cargo at Toton.
Secretary & Andrew Wright As at 1st June the only Mk 3 vehicle still carrying the legacy
Web master “one” livery was TSOB 10406 but this vehicle was taken to
Wolverton for repainting on 6th June.
Treasurer John Laycock
Renatus 321 project:
Memb ership Sec Mike Handscomb The first of 10 Class 321 EMUs to be refurbished with new
traction equipment and air conditioning, 321303, returned
Newsletter Editor & Edward Mann from Wabtec Rail Doncaster on 6th June. These units can be
Indoor Programme identified by a continuous red stripe running above the grey
Pub licity Chris Mitchell
Indoor Programme Graham Kenworthy The English summer is traditionally 3 fine days and a
thunderstorm. We begin with the storms.
Show Day Organiser Peter Willis
31st May: Overnight storms caused flooding at Somerleyton;
—----------------------------------------------------------------------------- a lightning strike affected signalling between Stowmarket and
Bury St Edmunds and there were OLE problems in the Ilford
Norfolk Railway Society Newsletter area. The 0705/0740 from Norwich reached Liverpool Street
Editor: Edward Mann about 30L. Services from London suffered with the
0755/0830/0900 departures arriving Norwich 43L (26 minutes
Layout & Picture Editor: Andrew Wright taken between Marks Tey and Colchester for unknown
reasons), 84L and 75L respectively – these services had left
London 24L and 30L.
In an attempt to minimise delays the Norwich – London
service was reduced to hourly until the 1230 from Norwich
and the 1500 return from London.
Distribution: Graham Smith 23rd June: Flooding between Stratford and Ilford from
torrential overnight storms particularly around London
Please contact Graham if the next edition does not arrive resulted in tracks being flooded above rail level in the Manor
by the end of the month of publication. Park – Maryland area causing severe disruption all day with
very limited and delayed services resuming after 1345. No
Opinions expressed in any articles are those of the author through Norwich – London services ran all day with early
and should not b e taken to represent those of the Society. morning London-bound services being terminated at
Next issue published 6th October 2016 Shenfield or Colchester.
Copy date: 29th September 2016
24th June: As a result of yesterday’s flooding causing S&T Temperatures in the low 30s centigrade led to the introduction
equipment damage between Seven Kings and Ilford, services of speed restrictions during the afternoon causing late running
were disrupted – the 0500 and 0600 ex- Norwich approached and several services were cancelled.
Romford on time but arrived 57L and 45L respectively. It was
decided to restrict services from about 0900 to hourly 20th July: Heatwave day 3 saw further speed restrictions
between Norwich and Colchester, Ipswich to Shenfield and imposed and several cancellations. A road vehicle struck
Clacton to London with shuttle services operating the level crossing barriers in the Claydon area, north of Ipswich,
Harwich, Braintree and Southminster branches. The first during the morning which did little to improve timekeeping!
through train from Norwich was the 1400 returning as the
1630 from London. The already late-running 1130 London to Norwich was
detained at Stowmarket from 1318 to 1343 when a passenger
A break from the weather… was taken ill, reaching Norwich at 1418 (51L), to form the
1400 Norwich to London departing 26L and due to call at
14th July: The 1000 from Norwich was brought to a stand just Ipswich only (omitting the 6 other intermediate stops). The
as it had begun to move. No PA used until the train was 1200-ex London was 43L partly in reaction.
approaching Diss some 30 minutes later but 20 minutes’
delay was attributed to a person trying to open an external A buckled rail on the Down lines approaching Colchester
door. It was announced that the train would omit its station in the late afternoon led to further long delays and
Manningtree, Chelmsford and Stratford stops but on the train cancellations but even worse was to come.
approach to Ipswich it was announced that the train would
terminate at Colchester “as the train had no path…” A public Tree on line south of Diss - the first train affected was the
service? 1900 from Norwich which was delayed by some 40 minutes
reaching Stowmarket – it would depart Colchester 81L and
15th July: An operating incident at a London depot (Orient reach Liverpool St 86L (the 1830 ex-Norwich was similarly
Way?) caused morning cancellations. Passengers travelling late caused by the Colchester disruption arriving London at
from Norwich did not have a good morning as the 0830 2145 and forming the 2330 service to Norwich – oh, and the
departure was cancelled and the following 0900 service was 1800 from Norwich was cancelled due to a train fault).
formed of a single 4 car 321 EMU which remained in the
diagram for the 1130 and 1750 ex-London and at least the After the 1900 from Norwich no other services ran to London
1400 ex-Norwich – all these services ran non-stop between that evening.
Ipswich and London!
Services from London were incurring delays of about an hour
And now it warms up… due to the Colchester buckled rail. Due to the tree obstructing
the line the 1730 ex-London was terminated at Ipswich; the
18th July: Heatwave day 1 - 1P28 1230 London to Norwich 1750 terminated at Stowmarket 68L with the 1830 (1810
service was terminated at Colchester due to a brake problem cancelled) and 1900 terminating at Ipswich about 70L. The
having passed Marks Tey 35L and arriving at Colchester 61L. 1930 terminated at Colchester and the 2000 was cancelled.
In consequence the 1500 ex-Norwich and the 1730 return
from London were cancelled. The following 1300 ex-London One line past the obstruction was re-opened to traffic at 2210.
departed Colchester 42L and arrived Norwich 50L. The 2030 service from London departed Colchester a mere
35L but left nearby Manningtree 116L and ultimately arrived
5P28, the ecs of the 1230 ex-London, departed Colchester at in Norwich at 0112 about 165L. The next Norwich-bound train
1440 and, having passed Ipswich 13L, was then held in the from London departed 3 hours later as the 2330 (the 2130
Ipswich area, presumably for regulation purposes, passing and 2230 services appear to have been cancelled) which
East Suffolk Junc 122L and arriving Norwich 138L. reached Norwich at 0252 51L.
Other services were running late due to heat related problems With the Norwich-bound services being terminated at Ipswich
including a defective level crossing between Norwich and and Stowmarket hundreds of passengers were stranded –
Diss, signalling problems in the Witham area and a points newspaper reports suggested for up to 4 hours – and very
failure at Acle (see tomorrow!). limited alternative taxi or bus transport was available. One
report suggested that some passengers from the 1730 ex-
19th July: Heatwave day 2 started with a points failure at London did not reach Norwich until 0112 some 6 hours late.
Reedham Junc (no service to/from Yarmouth) and at Acle
delaying Norwich-bound services. The 0658 Yarmouth to In response to public complaints (including that of Norman
Norwich service started 6L but had become 44L by Brundall. Lamb MP) of no information etc AGA apologised, said that
The 0730 service departed 82L and the following 0817 alternative transport was organised where available – only a
service fared better by being only 49L. Some cancellations to limited number of buses and taxis – and “no passengers were
other Wherry Line services resulted. stranded” See last Newsletter and Berney Arms lifeboat item.
(NRS/NL 61/3 p.3 – Ed.)
The discovery of a track defect between Liverpool St and
Bethnal Green just after 0800 seriously disrupted morning 26th July: An unusual occurrence. A signal wire operating
peak services. The 0755 service to Norwich departed on time Brundall's Down First Home signal BL3 protecting the Down
before the problem arose but the 0830 departure left 78L platform broke, delaying the 0652 Norwich to Yarmouth by 17
(Norwich arrival 94L). The 0648 ex-Norwich was terminated minutes - trains being instructed by the signaller to pass the
at Stratford and formed the 0900 ex-London from there. The signal at danger. The 0658 from Yarmouth was held at Acle
0705/0740/0800/0830 services from Norwich all encountered for 23 minutes (Norwich 17L) and the 0730 from Yarmouth
delays of about 45 minutes meaning that the 0930/1000 ex- departed 16L and arrived Norwich 26L leading to the
London services departed about 30L and then lost more time cancellation of the 0809 from Norwich and the 0846 return.
en route to Norwich. The late running led to the The 0917 from Yarmouth arrived Norwich 10L at 1002
1130/1330/1830 ex-Norwich and the balancing 1400/1600 ex- passing the 1000 to London in the station throat - given that
London being cancelled. the 0846 service had been cancelled - hard going for any
_________TRACK REPORT 46100 plus its support coach ran to Bristol (to take up
Torbay Express duties) the following day, running tender first
passengers wishing to catch a London service. The signal to Ely (reverse) then routed via Leicester and Birmingham.
wire had been replaced in time for the 1005 Norwich to Peter Adds.
Lowestoft service to have the signal cleared after several
pulls - probably the wire adjuster being operated to tighten the Away from the Tracks
new wire run.
Whilst travelling by train is frequently punctual and trouble- Something to Think About
free there are just too many bad days! This agony column is
being stabled in long-forgotten sidings to spare you, the A stations quiz with a difference. It’s ratcheted up as it goes
reader, further angst! (Peter Adds) along. Please name 2 stations (open or closed, BR, NR,
These reports from a frequent traveller have been much LUL or Docklands and pre-nationalisation) whose names
appreciated, and it is to be hoped those sidings remain could also be: 1. Aircraft (models not manufacturers); 2.
connected to the network for our benefit – Ed. Present-day European motor manufacturers (not models);
3. Australian cities; 4. Cakes; 5. Musical instruments. Every
Heritage, Narrow-gauge and answer is a single word; please email to: xx
Miniature if you think you know. Like I said, it gets harder as it goes
MNR Steam Gala 24th-26th June
Want to travel on the Settle & Carlisle this
The main line locomotives attending were 46233 and 46100 year – think again!
Royal Scot (returning to Norfolk for the first time since its
return to the main line). 46233 ran via Norwich on arrival For some months the S & C has been closed due to a very
from the Ely direction to turn so that it would face north on serious landslip at Eden Brows between Armathwaite &
the MNR. 46100 was to face south. Carlisle. Buses have replaced trains north of Appleby,
though trains still run between there & Leeds. Google Eden
46100 had undergone fire grate repairs at York and to Brows landslip for updates.
provide insurance was piloted by 66007 as far as
Wymondham. 46100 was in steam and took water at March. Wisbech to Upwell Tram Memento 1884-1966
Hardingham station was packed with enthusiasts on Friday
24th June when photographic run pasts took place - first Competition from the new form of travel, the omnibus
46233 then 46100. 46233 returned home on the 26th and service, forced the tram passenger service to be withdrawn
New Years Day 1928. The Outwell Village Depot closed
66007 and 46100 Royal Scot at Whitemoor on 22nd June December 5 1962, the Basin Depot closed October 1964.
(above) and 46233 Duchess of Sutherland at Hardingham The final tram journey took place Monday 20 May 1966. The
on 26th June (below) (Peter Adds). official closure was Monday May 23 1966.
There is very little left of the tramway to see at the present
time but subject to planning consent that is about to change.
There are plans being made to erect a memento in the old
Outwell Tram Yard, below, and the a more substantial
reminder of the tram opposite the Upwell Health Centre.
It was the Wisbech to Upwell Tram that inspired the Rev
Awdry to create the Toby the Tram character that features in
the Thomas the Tank stories which have become
The memento is adjacent to the Isle Bridge, Outwell, and
was unveiled on 23rd July.
A miscellany of news and members’ contributions
Recently at the URC Hall course controlled by colour-lights. Of course, a very old
method of signalling was the man walking ahead of a train
“Checked at Signals” with a red flag, and this was recalled at Weymouth,
(David Pearce – 19th May) comparatively recently, with the flagman walking ahead of the
Channel Islands Boat Train as it threaded its way through the
Our final meeting of the season was in the capable hands of town’s streets. Memories of Norwich were stirred with views
David Pearce. His presentation did not just cover signals in in and out of the station from Carrow Road Bridge and the
the conventional sense, but also anything else which fine gantries of semaphores that used to signal inward and
conveyed a message or warning. He had divided his show outward trains. He had obtained the complex track/signalling
into 5 parts, beginning with 1 Bell – Call Attention. diagram from the long-demolished Passenger Yard Box
(dated 1972) when it had a 125-lever frame. More recent
His introduction to railways had come via his grandfather’s views showed how less interesting the scene has become.
layout. David’s father had been a clergyman, and the Rectory
enjoyed views over to the G.C. It remains to be seen if any of There used to be some amazing signal gantries, such as
David’s children will take up the interest in the fullness of Rugby, where the G.C. crossed over the L&NWR lines.
time! Plenty of examples of signalling followed such as Closer inspection showed not just one gantry, but two – one
Grantham’s semaphores, colour-lights and banner-repeaters. above the other – paid for by the G.C. for better sighting by
He also drew on the aesthetic appeal of signals, as portrayed L&NWR engine crews. And no account would be complete
by A.N. Wolstenholme on the covers of various Ian Allan without north and south views of Nottingham Goods South
abcs. We were reminded of other warning signals – including signalbox, perhaps the closest to David’s house, and the view
those for diversions, speed limits, watertroughs, and the red of its lamp hut to remind us that signals needed to be lit at
lights on top of level-crossing gates, buffer-stops etc. The night, and that the lamp-man had the job of climbing the
signalman’s job was to ensure two trains did not collide, and signal ladders, at all times and in all weathers! David also
we saw something of Chinley South Junc and Lenton South explained the workings of the Train Register, and that in the
Junc to illustrate this. Also, we saw Breydon Junc, now bi- busiest boxes a booking lad would have the important job of
directionally signalled, which has led to the provision of more recording all bell-codes received and sent.
semaphores rather than less.
Unusual signals included the co-acting signals (for better
The immediate post-war signalling at the south end of York sighting, again) at the Up end of Thetford station until
station was recalled, showing its massive N.E.R. gantry, and recently, but what could be stranger than the loud-hailer in
contrasted with the much-reduced trackwork of today, now of Reedham Swing Bridge box to remind yachtsmen to lower
their booms before passing under the bridge!
And we saw the demise of the fine bastion of semaphore
signalling and gantries at Barnetby. The west end gantries
used to control routes to Lincoln, Retford & Scunthorpe. Alas,
since last Christmas these are no more, and there was a
possession into the New Year to enable the work to be
A metaphorical 7-5-5 (closing of box) meant that David’s
presentation had come to an end, following which the
audience showed its appreciation in the usual way. Thanks
also to Andy Wright for operating the projector.
Before & after images of Barnetby Editor’s Note: I would like to know if the G.W. main line out of
Photographers far outnumber passengers (or anyone else for Birmingham Moor St still has semaphores. Semaphores
that matter) in this west-facing view from Barnetby on 18th survive around Worcester Shrub Hill, on parts of the Newport
December 2015 (above). Has the view improved on 9th – Shrewsbury line, and around Lostwithiel on the way to
January 2016 (below)? (David Pearce) Penzance. Let me know if you’re able to add to or amend this
60th Anniversary Dinner on the North Norfolk
Significant moments in the NRS’s history are often celebrated
with a meal. We reached our 60th anniversary last December
and chairman Ray Halliday suggested marking this occasion
with dinner on the North Norfolk Railway’s restaurant train.
Having received enthusiastic support for the idea, Ray, who
volunteers on the NNR, very decently offered to organise the
Thursday June 9th was the appointed date. The plan was to
enjoy a three-course meal followed by coffee – too much to
serve and eat on one return trip between Sheringham and
Holt. Thus we were promised not one but two return journeys,
so that we could relish the occasion in an unhurried manner.
It was a warm and sunny evening when our party of 29
The NRS party lines up before the journey. Chairman Ray Halliday is on the far left (Andy Wright).
members and 22 guests assembled on Sheringham’s Platform 2. I couldn’t
work out why we were there, as the only train in sight stood at Platform 1,
but soon we were ushered across the tracks to the correct platform. The
new footbridge was almost complete; a week later we’d have used it. It’s a
replica of the M&GN-era original, and will provide photographers with a
good vantage point.
Before we could board came the obligatory photocall. Marshalled by
cameraman Andy Wright, we assembled alongside our loco, which turned
out to be BR Class 4 2-6-0 no. 76084. Prominent on the top lamp iron was
the traditional Norfolk Railway Society Special headboard, fabricated many
years ago by Bob Brister – it was good to see Bob in our party. Andy
managed to include everyone in the group photograph – apart from two
members who were busy with their own shots.
The NNR has a fine collection of rolling stock spanning many eras. We
boarded a train of spick-and-
span BR Mk 1s, where our
two coaches had tables in
2+1 format, laid with crisp
white tablecloths and
gleaming cutlery, all very
inviting. We’d made our Would the Beerex be a better bet?” Messrs Pearce
meal choices in advance, and Adderson escape the photocall (Ann
and Ray distributed natty Handscomb).
little cards showing our
name and what we’d chosen. I think this was to guide the waiting staff, but it was
also useful for people like me who can’t remember what they did yesterday, never
mind a few weeks back.
The special menu card produced for our A whistle from 76084 signalled our departure, and we settled down to savour our
visit. meal. Now comes the fun part of this report, when I become a restaurant
critic: …the chicken with white wine was a tour de force, its brawny insouciance
complemented by subtly playful hints of chive. My companion, meanwhile, was
entranced by the Mediterranean vegetable lasagne…. OK, I’ll skip the foodie
vocabulary; all I’ll say is everyone seemed to find each course excellently prepared
and attractively presented. I still wonder how you can cook for 50 or more in a tiny
and constantly moving kitchen, but the NNR chefs certainly manage it with aplomb.
And the plates were brought to our tables swiftly and efficiently by an ever-cheerful
posse of waiting staff (all volunteers). It takes some expertise to carry a tray of
drinks down a narrow carriage gangway without spilling them – no mean
achievement when loco and coaches can re-couple with rather a thump, as
happened at Sheringham after our first return trip.
We weren’t the only train on the line that evening. Running turn-and-turn-about with
us was Paul Spracklen’s Class 50 50026 Indomitable, follow the Committee’s principles by offering them to NRS
immaculate in Network SouthEast livery. The NNR’s diesel members at favourable prices.
gala was to take place that weekend, and, as a curtain- Here are the items:
raiser, Indomitable was hauling a Beerex shuttle, with ale
served in the 'Muddle and Go Nowhere' bar. The weekend 1 - A Working Timetable (passenger and freight) for the
was partly to commemorate the 30th anniversary of NSE’s M&GN (‘Section M’), 13 Jun - 18 Sept 1955
formation, and along the line we caught sight of NSE-style
station notices – very authentic, until you paused and realised 2 - similar, 17 Sept 1956 to 16 June 1957
that Holt and Weybourne had never been part of the NSE
network. Sitting in Weybourne yard were visiting diesels for 3 - A ring binder containing a selection of M&GN-headed
the gala. The most striking was GB Railfreight’s gleaming forms and labels: about 75 in all including 38 wagon cards,
Class 66 no. 66772 which was shortly to haul its first ever 17 miscellaneous small forms, 6 waybills etc.
Of course one of the delights of the North Norfolk is the 4 - A small batch of Eastern & Midlands Railway Company
coastal scenery, and it looked at its best on this sunlit printed waybills. The E&M was the predecessor of the
evening. The sky with the setting sun on the last leg of our M&GN, the formal name change occurring in 1893. These
journey was particularly fine - and enhanced (or spoilt?) by a waybills have a printed date “188_” and the handwritten
line of three USAF planes exercising over the North Sea. As details show that they were used in the 1880s and 1890s.
the light was disappearing we drank the last of our coffee and
rolled back into Sheringham’s Platform 2 dead on 10pm. For the first three items we’re looking for offers from the
Some strolled over to the Network Rail platform to catch the collectors among our members. WTTs from ‘celebrity’ lines
22.17 back to Norwich; the rest of us - less civilised - climbed like the M&GN are keenly sought, and a well-below-market
into the car. reserve of £5 for each one seems appropriate. We’ve set a
£15 reserve for the binder of paperwork.
A great evening, Ray - you did a lot of preparatory work, and
your organisational skills ensured everything ran smoothly. The E&M waybills are available at 50p each - with a limit of
Thanks from us all. (Mike Handscomb) two per member!
Visit to Strumpshaw Steam Museum I look forward to hearing from would-be purchasers! Contact
me by phone or email.
Some 30 members, wives and partners visited the Museum Mike Handscomb
on a chilly Thursday 2nd June. We began with a train ride –
our group could just be accommodated – before we Editor’s Note: If anyone is unfamiliar with these offerings,
returned to the warmth and a ride on The Ark – a pre-war please email me.
fairground attraction rebuilt by Strumpshaw staff. This was
much enjoyed by those of – shall we say – middle age and,
after we disembarked, it was worked up to full speed – quite
a sight! A massive 100 ton beam engine was run for our
benefit, after which we were treated to music from a very
well-played cinema organ. If you haven’t been lately, it’s well
worth a visit. Thanks to everyone involved for being so
helpful and giving us such an entertaining evening (EM).
Treasures from the ‘Joint’
During our project to dispose of the NRS Archive, Richard
Adderson and I came across a fascinating boxful of material
relating to the M&GN. There was a large ledger containing
traffic notices and other circulars etc from Gedney; signal
box registers from Holt, Sutton Bridge Jc, Sutton Bridge
Dock Jc and Weybourne; some 1950s Carriage Working
Notices; a few BR publicity handbills issued during the
line’s last years; and quite a lot besides.
Following the principles laid down by the NRS Committee, 68004 Rapid heads two Mark 3 Open First coaches (11078
we debated about a suitable home for these items, and and 11082) running as 539V at Cambridge on 8th June 2016
settled on the M&GN Circle’s collection. The Circle ex Norwich Crown Point en route to Bounds Green (Andy
enthusiastically accepted. As with the NRS archive, the Wright).
Circle’s collection has for many years been housed by Ray
Meek at Briston, but now arrangements are being made for More on the Ambulance Trains (see NRS/NL
its transfer to a separate archives area for their members at 61/1 pp.10 et seq & the Letter to the Editor in
Barton House, Wroxham.
NRS/NL 61/2 p.8)
But there was one more stage before handing them over.
Richard carefully examined the contents and checked them This topic was not expected to produce much response but
off against the catalogue which lists the Circle’s collection. the odd nugget has been mined, the first of which is M&GN-
Having identified a few ‘duplicates’, we are again following related and subsequent correspondence may therefore
appear in M&GN Circle Bulletins. Michael Back has written
If the trains at Eye Green (M&GN) had come from terminus. The opening of Waterloo East, on the Charing
Peterborough North they would have arrived in the Down Cross line, meant closure of the through route, although it
platform. Then they would have needed to be drawn forward remained in situ and was still shown on an RCH map of
and engines run round to gain access to the Up side as the 1910.
yard was on that side, necessary for a fleet of ambulances
to park. There would be single line working over the Down If you have Colonel Cobb’s Atlas the old link can be seen, or
line whilst this was taking place. if you have the London Railway Atlas (Brown) the
juxtaposition of Waterloo and Waterloo East is apparent
Mike then turned his attention to the sidings at Two Mile from Map 39.
Bottom, which were not far from where the A134 parts
company from the Thetford – Brandon line. Years ago he If the “through” proposal were developed it could signal the
acquired the S & T plans for these sidings but didn’t know end for Charing Cross and Waterloo East, with any train
what they were used for. The local District Inspectors helped changes being made at either Waterloo or London Bridge.
out, and advised him: “Trains arrived in the middle of the David wondered if Cannon St would be superfluous too, but
night; it was all hush-hush; nobody was supposed to know”. I don’t think he would have foreseen the projected growth in
Both ambulance and ammunition trains arrived, the passenger numbers.
ammunition being stored in the nearby Forest. It appears
that several local Halls were commandeered as hospitals, Waterloo’s rebuilding probably saw off the connection for
and details are in their own publicity brochures. good, but it’s interesting to see that a pressure group led by
the Environmental Transport Association is proposing “a
And Mike Handscomb attended a recent Wymondham quick and simple alteration to London Waterloo station
Heritage Society meeting for a talk about the 389th Bomb (which) will double its capacity and dramatically improve the
Group, Hethel, given by a chap (Fred) who was a boy near daily commute for millions”. Called ‘Southern Crossrail’, it’s
the site in WW2. Philip Yaxley of Wymondham Heritage essentially the scheme David suggested.
Society summarised Fred’s recollections as follows:
Those interested are referred
“Fred mentioned that once he had to take shelter under the to https://www.eta.co.uk/trust/southern-crossrail/.
railway bridge when a German plane was machine-gunning
the station. In 1944 he walked to Kimberley Hall and saw The Footbridge is Open!
many tanks and guns, all covered in camouflage. It was
just before D-Day. A little later when standing on the
footbridge of the station the ten-year-old Fred watched as
two massive Canadian Pacific engines with red crosses
on their roofs, hauling about 16 coaches, pulled in. Along
Cemetery Lane was a line of ambulances waiting to take
the wounded from the train to the 231st Station Hospital at
Morley. This sight brought home to him the horrors of war.”
Richard comments: - I think we can forgive Fred for the
“Canadian Pacific” description – if they were S160s, and
they could well have been, he at least recognised the
transatlantic origin. And “about 16 coaches” ties in nicely
with the train formations we found in the LNER instructions
booklet. I didn’t know about the red crosses on the loco
roofs, so that’s another interesting little detail.
Southern Crossrail – Waterloo as a through Views of and from Sheringham’s new footbridge on 25th July
station? (Mike Fordham).
We hear a lot about Crossrail, but an alternative scheme
would connect towns such as Guildford, Reading and
Staines in the south-west (and larger towns and cities
further west) with towns such as Dartford and Hayes, the
cross-Channel ports and larger towns further south and
east without changing trains.
Our late member David Wright – who took a great interest in
what we now call “connectivity” - submitted his proposals in
an article to the Railway Magazine, shortly before his death
in 2009, but the article never saw the light of day. Members
with long memories should look at NRS/NL 56/2 p.13.
Former Editor Mike Handscomb unearthed David’s article,
and I think it deserves being summarised.
Waterloo was at its heart and it’s not generally realised that,
in the 1860s, it was briefly a through station as well as a
Letter to the Editor – M.& G.N. Stations
I found the report on Nigel Digby’s presentation on M&GN
station architecture in the June Newsletter most interesting
and informative. My understanding of the origin of the name
of Twenty station was that when the line was opened in
1866 there was neither habitation nor landmarks between
Spalding and Bourne and an opportunity was taken to open
three stations at regular intervals in order to exploit the
agricultural potential of the district. As a consequence North
Drove and Counter Drain, although they lay in the parishes
of Spalding and Deeping, which already had stations, were
named after adjacent geographical features. Small
settlements then sprung up around which then adopted the
names of the already existing stations. Twenty station was
planned to lie in featureless open fenland within the parish
of Bourne in enclosure number 20, as marked on
the original surveyor’s report and that is how the name
originated. I remember going there about fifty years ago, the
track was still in place although overgrown but there still
existed a splendid cast iron urinal.
Sutton Bridge was indeed one of the stations on the M&GN
to receive totems, the photo is of a rare survivor which sits
proudly above my office door and in common with
most M&GN totems it is in remarkably good condition due to
the short time they were open to the twin elements of
vandals and the weather. The full list of M&GN stations
which were definitely fitted with totems is Drayton,
Fakenham West, Grimston Road, Holbeach, Holt, Melton
Constable, Moulton, Sutton Bridge, West Runton,
Weybourne and Wisbech North, also very likely Reepham
In addition the Norfolk and Suffolk Joint line stations at
Corton, Gorleston-on-Sea, Hopton-on-Sea and Lowestoft
North were similarly fitted. For a rural backwater of a line this
is a surprising amount, due to the early closure dates
though they only rarely turn up at auction and when they do
they are highly sought after and can be guaranteed to make
four figure sums.
I trust this may be of interest to other readers.
Making the Connections
What are the connections between the Society’s first special
train and our recent dining evening on the North Norfolk
Railway? I think there are three. Our President, Ken Mills,
was on both trains, as was Bob Brister and, finally, so was
the Society’s much-travelled headboard, now in the care of
Graham Smith. Bob has kindly unearthed the report of that
first railtour, and its formal - maybe BBC - style contrasts
with Mike Handscomb’s free-flowing recent report.
Norfolk Transport Group / Great Eastern Norfolk Transport Group. In practical terms, there will be no
Railway Society Norwich Group. obvious change. Meetings will continue to be held at the
URC hall and will be publicised in the Norfolk Railway
Most of you will be aware of the meetings which are held in Society newsletter and at meetings.
these names on those Thursday nights between late
September and April when there is not an N.R.S. Meeting. If you haven’t attended these meetings before, why not give
us a look? There is no formal membership – we just ask for
The Great Eastern Railway Society Norwich Group was set a donation, currently £2, at each of the meetings towards the
up during the 1990s as the result of an initiative by the Great room hire costs, and refreshments are free.
Eastern Railway Society www.gersociety.org.uk to provide
meetings for their members in various locations. Whilst the Resumption of NRS Meetings
meetings have been well attended, it has become
increasingly apparent over the years that the only GERS Society meetings resume on Thursday 15th September, and
members attending have been those who are also our first meeting will comprise the usual members’ summer
members of the NRS. reports. Please bring a selection of collated images, to last
10 minutes or so, to give time to as many members as
The Norfolk Transport Group was set up at much the same possible. The slide projector will not be brought unless
time to cater for people with a general interest in transport, previously requested.
and has held meetings dealing with aircraft, road transport
and shipping, as well as buses, trams and railways. Sudden Death
It has now been decided to sever the connection with the Our long-standing Newsletter printer, Richard Darrington of
Great Eastern Railway Society, and the meetings of the two Express Impressions, passed away on Tuesday 5th July. He
groups will now be organised under the auspices of the had given us excellent service throughout my editorial
tenure. Our condolences go to Richard’s widow and family.
Obituary - John Hanchet
Of the many people we come to know during our lives, are we degree was highly regarded by his Head of Department and
able to recall the first conversation we had and just what it given an orchestral performance.
was that sparked the development of a lasting friendship? It
was during the tea break at an NRS meeting sometime in After graduation John trained as a teacher and from 1964
2005 that I recall John Hanchet coming up to me and saying taught music at Thurrock Technical College in Essex. By all
“We must get together sometime and have a chat about accounts – as with so much that John did – he was full of
photography.” So began a friendship which lasted until John enthusiasm for his subject and gave much good advice and
passed away in the early hours of 29th June 2016. support to his students.
Those who were able to attend John’s funeral service will Some will know of his later career as a manufacturer of
have learned what a remarkable person he was. Born in medieval musical instruments. This may have had its origins
Morecambe on 17th February 1941, he grew up in Bury St in a visit to the Dolmetsch workshop, where early musical
instruments were made, at the Haslemere Festival in Surrey,
Edmunds, where his which he used to attend during his years as a student. From
father was a 1975 to 1978 John was a senior lecturer at London College of
stonemason. From an Furniture and started the Historical Woodwind Manufacturing
early age John course. He also ran popular residential courses for making
developed an interest in musical instruments at the Schloss Breiteneich in Austria
railways and steam where he made contact with many early music enthusiasts
locomotives in particular from all over the world.
taking every opportunity
to spend time at railway In 1978 he married Doris and moved to Germany where she
stations and on railway was a lecturer. They lived in Essen and John established a
banks both in Suffolk business making historical woodwind instruments, including
and further afield. Medieval, Spanish and Renaissance Shawms. I well
remember him telling me about the hours he spent in
John at Buckfastleigh on the As well as his interest in museums making drawings, taking notes and photographing
South Devon Railway during railways, John exhibited original examples of the instruments he went on to make and
2012 (Mike Fordham). his knowledge and skills sell around the world. It was typical of the way he
in other fields, approached his interests: thorough research, painstaking
particularly music. He attention to detail and the application of time and skill to
was Head Choir Boy at produce the finished article.
Cathedral and also won When Doris retired in 1998 they moved to Norwich and John
several competitions as continued his musical instrument business. He joined a
a boy soprano. He number of local societies including the NRS where he is well
studied music at King’s remembered for his high quality railway photography, his
College, Durham breadth of knowledge, good humour and willingness to help
University – then based and encourage others. He was also a member of Diss and
in Newcastle – where District Model Railway Society and Norwich and District
he was awarded the Photographic Society, where his railway photography was
degree of Bachelor of greatly admired and enjoyed.
Arts. The original
composition for his
___________NRS NEWS most remarkable model railway extending to over 20 feet in
length. Again attention to detail was to the fore and the layout
Over the years he gave a number of talks to the NRS. I could be configured with English or German buildings to
remember in 2012 he introduced us to Blurb books and enable his collection of British and German locomotives and
showed us how he had created a book of his own excellent rolling stock to run in a realistic environment.
images. As Edward Mann said when reviewing the meeting
“as with any photographic album considerable photographic Despite failing health John continued to attend NRS meetings
talent is essential, clearly apparent as John took us through until early this year. Fittingly one of the last he attended was
his book” (NRS/NL 57/2/ p.5). The following year we saw “The Wolsztyn Experience” when Paul Hudson, Chris King
another side of John’s railway interests when he gave a talk and Chris Mitchell gave a talk on their latest trip to Germany
entitled “The Pigtailbahn”. Drawing on his extensive and Poland chasing mainline steam (NRS/NL 61/1 p. 7).
knowledge of German railways he took us to the southern
Black Forest region and the Wutachalbahn (see NRS/NL 58/3 I was fortunate to have been able to count John as one of my
p.6). friends and learnt much from him about railways and
photography. We will miss him.
Indeed John’s knowledge of German railways was much in
demand from those enthusiasts for German Steam and a We extend our condolences to Doris and his family.
number of members will have enjoyed his company on visits Andy Wright.
to the Plandampf as well as benefiting from his local
knowledge. I would like to thank Doris Hanchet for permission to draw on
the Eulogy given at John’s funeral in writing this tribute.
As John began to run down his instrument making business
he created space in his workshop at home where he built a
Strange but True – the GWR in Norwich by Edward Mann
Some of you may recall the ex-GWR locomotives and rolling discovered. Today, the building is little changed and, if you
stock that were scrapped by Kings in the 1960s but, courtesy don’t know it, no. 67 is now Pandora’s Kitchen!
of Geoff Moore, another connection has recently surfaced.
To take up the railway story, the GWR had a Receiving Office
at 67 London Street, which received parcels etc for GWR
destinations for onward despatch by rail. It did not deal with
incoming traffic. Although Manchester and Liverpool are listed
in a 1902 Timetable, and both were on the edge of G.W.
territory, Norwich is the only true “out of area” location listed
therein. Then the Receiving Office was in the Market Place,
so the move to London St happened a few years later. We
are left to wonder if it was Colman’s mustard and/or the many
shoe factories that accounted for this unusual situation. This
discovery begged the question of whether other companies
had a presence in the city.
I thought the best way was to trawl old Kelly’s Directories.
The Millennium Library does not have a complete set but,
starting with the 1900 edition, the GWR’s office was between
the Royal Exchange P.H. and the Municipal Offices in the
Market Place¹. It was also described as a District Agent’s
office. Not unexpectedly, the M&GN, GNR & MR shared a
Receiving Office at 16 Haymarket. The GER had a Parcels &
Booking Office at 4 St Giles’ St² (roughly opposite Upper Goat
Lane). The L&NWR had their Receiving Office at 1 Exchange
St (long since subsumed by Jarrold’s). The next available
Kelly’s was 1904, the GWR & GER had not moved; the
M&GN was at 18 Orford Place; the GNR/MR were not
separately listed and the L&NWR was not shown. The 1908
edition shows that the GWR had moved to 67 London St and
the GER was still at 4 St Giles’ St. Neither the L&NWR nor
the M&GN were mentioned at all, which must suggest that the
compilers acted on information supplied by organisations
wishing (paying?) to be listed.
It began with this print – which is in a frame - having been In 1914, there was no Kelly’s. Instead, there was a very
mounted by A.E. Coe & Son circa 1905. This came to Geoff similar Jarrold’s Directory, and it sprang a few surprises. The
via a neighbour when she moved house, the print having GCR had Municipal Offices in Tower Chambers, Opie St. The
been in her coal house for several years. It was taken to show GER & M&GN had combined at Orford Place; the L&NWR
the offices of W.J.C. Thorold, solicitor (her father), as can be had moved to 53A London St, but the GWR was not
seen from the boards in the first floor windows and on the mentioned. Perhaps the GCR presence is not surprising –
brass plate to the left of the door between no. 67 and Bowhill coal traffic to East Anglia could come on to the GN/GE “Joint”
& Elliott’s. His practising certificate for 1905 was also at Lincoln and all sorts of agricultural traffic would go the
_________FEATURES Place and the present City Hall. By going on to norwich-
market.org.uk/Pubs/pubs.shtm you can find the Royal
In the 1916 Kelly’s, the GWR re-appeared with their Eastern Exchange. No doubt the GWR was glad to leave as the old
Counties District Agent’s office at 67 London St, and the Fishmarket was uncomfortably close!
L&NWR were at 53 London St. After the Grouping, only the
LMS, with a Railway Agent’s office at Castle Chambers, Opie ² The area bounding the first part of St Giles’ St, St Peter’s St
St got a mention. Times were changing – the 1933 Kelly’s and part of Bethel St contained many run-down buildings,
places the LMS office at 25 Castle Meadow³; the LNER were which were demolished in the 1930s to make way for the Fire
simply at Thorpe Station, and the M&GN at their head office Station and City Hall.
at Austin St King’s Lynn.
³ It would be interesting to know if there was a physical move
I had hoped that the 1947 Kelly’s would show the pre- as the premises adjoin.
nationalisation position but about 100 pages were missing.
By all means feel free to email me with your comments.(EM)
¹ It needs to be remembered that a hotch-potch of buildings
were demolished to open up the area between the Market
The Embankment & a Tale of Quirks (50 Years in the Making) by David Pearce
What is it that’s faintly quirky about the interminably repetitive Galashiels to Selkirk Junction Galafoot SGB Siding!
grind that characterises the Gregorian calendar – the days of
the week, the months and the eternal years, all passing with Lots of people claim to remember what they were doing the
monotonous regularity? For the most part, nothing at all, day President Kennedy was assassinated – I can’t! … and
except when the little quirk absurdly pricks the subconscious the day Elvis died – nope! … and the day John Lennon died –
to reveal something that rarely, if ever, surfaces. hopeless! But I can remember what I was doing on Saturday
3rd September 1966. I was 14 years and 93 days old. At this
Good at maths? Not really - it’s probably of no consequence! point I should, perhaps, point out that I’m not a great
Nonetheless, it suddenly occurred to me the other day that aficionado of ‘last days’. The ones I have attended could
2016 has a rather unique feature. It was revealed by an probably be counted on the fingers of one hand so not much
invitation to a wedding. Back in the day, weddings tended to of a story there then! But this Saturday was different.
be celebrated mostly on Saturdays (oh no they weren’t!), so
when the invite arrived it indicated the appointed date as From our attic windows the view westwards was dominated
being the 1st September. My natural assumption was that it by North Wilford Power Station just across the river –
would be a Saturday and, worryingly, a Saturday around that whoever would want to live next door to a power station? We
time that I’d earmarked to be somewhere else! did and wash days were an interesting challenge! In contrast,
the view to the east (below) was sublime. Across the rooftops,
Enter another quirk – that of the commemorative anniversary. chimneys and aerials of the houses in Vernon Avenue and
It seems to be an abiding fascination for many that, come the Coronation Avenue the vista was abruptly curtailed by a long
25th, 40th, 50th, 60th, 75th, 100th, you name it, anniversary of a railway embankment, just over 300 yards away, forming an
notable event, there has to be some kind of tangible artificial horizon obscuring the sweep of the river as it heads
outpouring of remembrance to satisfy the human spirit. Well, towards Trent Bridge. For the previous five years the traffic
get on with it then – what’s this got to do with 2016? Quite a
lot, really – ‘two quirks hurtling headlong into one another –
one said to the other, etc., etc. …’!
Cue drum roll. From Tuesday, 1st March, appropriately St
David’s Day - hmm(!), the days of the months fall on the same
day of the week as they did exactly 50 years ago! So, as 50th
Anniversaries go, for a while at least, there is the added
piquancy of each day falling on the same day of the week as
it did 50 years ago. ‘Well I’ll go to the foot of our stairs!’
Doubtless the maths will tell you it happens in a cycle of
wearisome conformity every so many years - it’s simply that
over the last sixty or so I’ve just never noticed. Why do I
detect blank expressions?
OK, how about 1966, then - should have been a good year? that was carried on this embankment, or, more to the point,
After all, England won the World Cup but then, only the day the motive power that conveyed this traffic over said
before, Bob Dylan fell off his motorbike. The railways didn’t embankment had kept me well entertained during many
fare too well either. Basher Beeching’s acolytes were in their daylight hours. Armed with dad’s navy issue binoculars, Bic
element, clearing the network with some 267 line closures. and scruffy bits of paper, I’d noted number after number,
These ranged from tiny links like those between the former copping all the 9Fs allocated to Annesley, all the Immingham
GE and M&GN lines around North Walsham, Norwich Victoria allocated ‘Britannias’ on the Whitland fish and a good many
Coal Yard to Norwich Victoria Goods Yard, to the wholesale foreigners that just added to the excitement. You see, this
slaughter of the Isle of Wight line to Newport and Cowes and was the London Extension of the former Great Central
the pruning of the line to Ventnor at Shanklin. Laments Railway, and it was about to die!
continue for the old Somerset and Dorset but spare a thought
for the Connel Ferry to Ballachulish branch in Scotland.
Similarly, amongst the many others, there was Rugby to
Peterborough, Saxmundham to Aldeburgh, Taunton to
Barnstaple, much of the ‘Withered Arm’ in Devon, not to
mention Ramsbottom to Accrington, Fawley to Totton and
To all intents and purposes, it was a normal late summer And then it’s back home for lunch – was that a spit or two of
Saturday, the weather in Nottingham vaguely changeable – rain in the air?
‘cloudy but bright with sunny intervals’, as the forecasters
used to say. There had, of course, been several The rain didn’t come to much of anything during the afternoon
commemorative features in the various railway periodicals of – just a few light drops in the air interspersed with sunny
the time to whet our prospective ‘anniversorial’ appetites. intervals. The lull in proceedings, the best part of three hours
However, the day began inauspiciously enough at ‘chez nous’ of inactivity on the railway, meant there was no inducement to
with sunshine, a lie-in and breakfast. I don’t think it had really venture out again until about a quarter-to-five. 1N83, the
dawned on this 14-year-old that, from now on, things might be northbound cross-country working from Poole to Newcastle,
a little different – how quaintly naive. was due and I elected to go trackside this time. My younger
brother had decided to accompany me but wasn’t too keen on
After breakfast I spent the time enjoying a lazy morning but, my idea of trespassing so resorted to the flood bank I’d stood
shortly before lunch, began to think maybe I ought to stir on earlier. I was actually more keen to photograph 1B97, my
myself. I’d decided that I’d walk down to the embankment to favourite train of the day, as I felt a long association with this,
see the ‘last day’ special that had been advertised, due along the 1715 to Marylebone. On countless occasions my
about half-past-twelve from London. No idea what was going grandmother had returned home to Pinner by this train. The
to be on it but, almost certainly, likely to be a pleasant change huge variety of motive power had swelled the underlinings in
from all the familiar locos dejectedly playing out the final act in my abc, so this really was a significant farewell. It seemed I
this theatrical tragedy. By the time I’d walked along was not the only one with this aim in mind.
Coronation Avenue and under the railway bridge to scramble
onto the flood bank, the sun had taken umbrage in sympathy, D1572 duly put in a return appearance with 1N83 and I
and it did occur to me it might even rain. No matter, 1B95 was contented myself by sitting on one of the old wooden buffers
crossing the viaduct across the Trent, in the form of an 8-car at the end of the weed-choked head-shunt to witness its
DMU returning to London, the 1220 from Nottingham Victoria. passing. Only just in time as the board was off for the 1715.
This was normally a 4 car Marylebone set but the ‘powers We take up our positions. What must the signalman be
that be’ had obviously decided it would be woefully thinking as he views the various interlopers wandering about
inadequate for the expected hordes of mourners – double and the tracks from the window of his signal box? Perhaps he
quit! does have some sympathy given the sombreness of the
occasion, but no-one seemed to be courting fate by venturing
At 1231 the colour light changed from an obstinate red to a too close to the running lines. I wonder, did enthusiasts seem
yellow, indicating that the signalman at Nottingham Goods to exercise rather more caution and respect in those days for
South had pulled lever 49 to clear his down home signal – the the dangers inherent in the railway environment they had
special was not far away. A few moments later and it had gained access to, whether by fair means or foul – who
winked to green, suggesting that the route was clear through knows?
to Weekday Cross and, with a bit of luck, all the way into
Nottingham Victoria. At 1242 the rumble of an approaching Anyway, my Box Brownie is poised. No-one seems to be in
train in the distance, rattling down the grade from Wilford the way and I can see right down the straight through the
Lane, spun me into action with my brother’s Box Brownie. girders of the bridge. In the distance I can just make out a
Click and a slightly blurry picture of 35030 was committed to faint plume of smoke about half-a-mile away against the
celluloid. Committed to memory was the long rake of back-drop of the city. It’s just rounding the gentle curve off the
Southern green coaches hauled by a pristine Elder Dempster viaduct at Arkwright Street before straightening up and
Lines, the one and only time I ever saw this loco – OK, I did digging-in for the river crossing. I’ve elected to go for a fairly
head-on view as I know the inadequacies of the shutter will
struggle to ‘stop’ the train in my frame. A moment or two later
and it is upon us. The loco, whatever it is, seems to be in fine
fettle – oh, another Black 5! Well they could, at least, have
cleaned it. It turned out they had, but it failed! So, yet another
substitution then. I don’t dwell on this as I’m busy savouring
the moment having grabbed my shot. 1B97 roars past,
wheels and rods in syncopated harmony, heads out of the
carriage windows, taking in the view and the warmth of the
late afternoon sun. In a matter of seconds, it’s away across
the embankment heading towards Wilford Lane and history.
35030 Elder Dempster Lines passes Nottingham Goods The grubby and unkempt appearance of 44984 (over) in
South Box with the returning 1X21 (see above and below). place of 44825 that had, indeed, been buffed up for the
occasion at Colwick at least was offset by the wreath on the
see it on its way back later in the day if you really want to be smokebox door. Fortunately, underneath all the grime was a
picky! But it’s lunchtime – mum said she’d have food on the loco that was clearly up to the job as I later learnt that a
table at one o’clock. I just hang on a bit longer, risking commendable ‘right time’ arrival was recorded at Marylebone
mother’s wrath, to see D1572 striking out with the last 1O42, – bravo!
the final 0830 Newcastle to Poole, and one of the last day-
time tributes to the GC as an important cross-country route. I resume my position on the buffer again. Most of the bodies
have withdrawn in favour of another vantage point elsewhere.
I’ve decided to stick here to await the returning special.
They’re obviously better informed as there’s a good thirty-five
minutes before the signalman is stirred into action again at
the box. This’ll be for 1D35 which should have brought 44872
back to Nottingham, the loco off the 0815 to Marylebone that
morning. However, the last 1438 Marylebone to Nottingham
trundles along the embankment behind a mere BR Sulzer
more familiar SR territory after its foray ‘up north’! The weeds
and the rosebay willow herb poking up through the ash
ballast, the rusting rails of the twin sidings, all presented a
colourful but melancholic contrast to the businesslike display
of power just witnessed. But, for me, this could have been the
end of the story – stomach was rumbling, time for tea – but it
44984, adorned with wreath, at Nottingham Goods South (see I wouldn’t have been any the wiser to most of the goings-on
previous page). that day if it wasn’t for the subsequent acquisition of a couple
of tatty signal box registers and a CD. The columns of times
recorded in the registers helped to identify the trains passing
along the embankment but not the motive power conveying
them. Enter a Mr Phil Warrington at Leicester Central. Now, I
know nothing about the bloke – never met him. But his dulcet
East Midlands tones I feel sure I’d recognise anywhere – his
devotion to duty seemed exemplary, the stuff upon which
legends are made. I can’t remember where or when I saw it
advertised but anything that says ‘Leicester Central - The
Last Day of Steam’ sounded to me like pretty essential
listening for an avid GC fan just down the line – I was
Type 2 diesel, much to the chagrin of the punters on board. When the package burst through my letterbox, I couldn’t
Still, I was pleasantly surprised to record D5000, the doyen of imagine what delights might be contained therein. Probably
the class, and I even exercise the shutter of the Box Brownie just another bunch of fairly anonymous sounds of the railway
on it to celebrate – the time, 1757! rather amateurishly put together, I thought – could’ve been
Actually, I did ascertain that the special was supposed to be recorded anywhere? I couldn’t have been more wrong. The
along at 1825. But clouds were starting to gather as dusk was first line of the sleeve notes summed it up – “The CD you’re
beginning to fall. There was a slight chill in the air. I later learn holding … isn’t just a series of railway recordings – it’s a
from a copy of the LCGB Journal that departure from piece of history.” And, despite the lapse of nearly forty years I
Nottingham Victoria would be 23 minutes late but, sitting on was back to Saturday 3rd September 1966 with a bonus into
this splintery old buffer, I wasn’t to know that. Even if I had the small hours of Sunday the 4th. The intrepid Mr Warrington
been able to pluck up the courage, the signal box was just had mounted an extraordinary 21-hour vigil at Leicester
that bit too far away to hail the signalman, but then it might Central, armed with a tape recorder, an acute sense of
have given him the opportunity to tell me off for trespassing occasion and, apparently, a very understanding girlfriend!
anyway! No matter, I determine to sit it out.
If Nottingham Victoria had been the place I should have been
At 1841 the quaint little underslung signal at the end of the during the daylight hours of Saturday, then Leicester Central
viaduct is lowered with a gentle clatter. Away along the was the place to be during those last nocturnal hours when
embankment the colour-light signal acting as the Goods most, me included, were in bed. The written history witnessed
South up advanced starter also winks to green, indicating a by the signalmen in their registers, coupled with the aural
clear run at least to Loughborough. Show-time! I’m armed history provided by Mr Warrington and his tape recorder,
with my brother’s Box Brownie, the film in my camera already make for an experience that’s almost as good as being there
exhausted. I venture down towards the points where the – they deliver in spades, or should that be firemen’s shovels!
goods lines diverge. Two reasons: one, I like the idea of the
arrangement of the signal, signal box, bridge with the train So what did I miss of those last workings? Up on the
passing through; and, two, I reckon the signalman will be too embankment the last steam hauled passenger train heading
busy dealing with the train to worry about a 14-year-old with south for a change of engines at Leicester was the 2220(SO)
camera lurking by the lineside, hopefully, fairly obviously York to Bristol (1V68), the open fire door of 44858,
intent on doing no harm - I go for it! The tell-tale plume of undoubtedly, lighting up the exhaust from its chimney as it
smoke way down by Arkwright Street heralds the approach of stormed past slumbering Wilford. Somewhere between Quorn
The Great Central Railtour on its way back to London. and Rothley it passed 44984 bringing the last northbound
steam hauled working on this section, 1N34, the 2225(SO)
When 1X21 hoved closer into view it was clear that the driver Swindon to York.
of Elder Dempster Lines meant business. The distinctive
syncopated Bulleid beat of a Merchant Navy well in command But what of the very last working of all? Alas, not steam, but,
of its task was audibly evident as it roared through the girders nevertheless, an echo of the early morning newspaper train
and past the signal box – pretty awesome, I’d say! And ‘go for from time immemorial. Judging by the sounds at Leicester on
it’ they did, the last passenger train to Marylebone to be the CD, there must have been a handful of hardy passengers
hauled by steam throughout. The Box Brownie just about travelling through the night to Nottingham. In its way it also
coped but, really, the whole spectacle was something to be echoed the semi-fasts introduced in 1960, again, only as far
savoured rather than snapped. Apparently, with a cruising as Nottingham – semi-fast being the operative word in this
speed of 70 mph, the special arrived back at the capital only instance! One can only speculate on what the crew of D5085
15 minutes late – very creditable given the lamentable must have felt while working 1D31, the 0040 Marylebone to
condition the line had been allowed to descend to. Nottingham Victoria. By Leicester they had dropped to 55
minutes behind schedule and, despite a total of 13 minutes of
As the signalman was giving ‘train entering section’ to recovery time available between Woodford and Nottingham,
Loughborough at 1846, I turned and headed back towards arrival at Victoria was still some 40 minutes late – not that
the buffers. The special was rapidly disappearing along the anyone would’ve been counting! For the passenger who had
embankment, steadily pulling away from the Trent, back to turned up to catch the 0040 at Marylebone the train had taken
10 minutes shy of 4 hours to reach Nottingham! Could this in the sky to the east, must have been particularly poignant as
have been another substitution with the help of the London the train rattled past the derelict reminders of past glories. I,
Midland (Western Division) – who knows? of course was blissfully ignorant of all of this in my slumbers
that Sunday morning. Nonetheless, did I imagine it or was
For the crew that wasn’t quite the end of it. The empty that the sound of a BR Sulzer Type 2 I heard barking its way
coaches were booked to be returned to Neasden behind along the embankment – in your dreams, mate!
D5085 as 3B30 and it was shortly after 0500 that it departed
from Nottingham Victoria for the last time. It must have been In less than a week Star Trek would debut on American
strangely eerie as the darkened train forged south through the television. So where was the ‘somewhere else’ I had
night, gradually drawing a veil over so much railway history in earmarked to be, to the day, fifty years later? Not at a
the relatively short period of 67 years, a mere lifetime in those wedding that’s for sure. I’ll leave you to work it out – it’s not
days. South of Rugby the first hints of a new day, beckoning rocket science! ‘Beam me up, Scotty!’
_________WORKING TIM ETABLE
a selective look ahead at local railway events
NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY and Norfolk Transport Group meetings take place (unless otherwise stated) at: United
Reformed Church Hall, Ipswich Road, Norwich, NR4 6QR
Events are listed in good faith, b ut visitors should check with the organisation concerned b efore travelling.
Norfolk Transport Group - please contact Mike Fordham or John Laycock.
Services on our Local Railways
Ashmanhaugh Light Railway, East View Farm, Stone Lane, Ashmanhaugh, NR12 8YW. For information:
www.as hm anhaughlightrailway.co.uk
Barton House Railway, Hartwell Road, Wroxham, NR12 8TL. For information: www.bartonhouserailway.org.uk – Tel: 01603-
The Bure Valley Railway - Daily running until 30th October. For details of individual events please visit their website -
www.bvrw.co.uk - or telephone 01263-733858.
The Mid-Norfolk Railway - Regular running until 2nd October. For details of individual events please visit their website -
www.mnr.org.uk - or telephone 01362-690633.
The Mid-Suffolk Light Railway, Brockford Station, Wetheringsett, IP14 5PW - For details of individual events please visit their
website - www.mslr.org.uk - or telephone 01449-766899.
The North Norfolk Railway - Daily running until 30th October. For details of individual events please visit their website -
www.nnrailway.co.uk - or telephone 01263-820800.
The Norwich & District Society of Model Engineers meets at Eaton Park, Norwich on Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays
from 1300-1700. N.B. Sunday running on the last Sunday of the month has ceased. See website www.ndsme.co.uk.
The Wells & Walsingham Light Railway. Daily running until 30th October. For information:
www. wellswalsinghamrailway.co.uk or tel: 01328 711630 (up to 1700 please).
The Whitwell & Reepham Railway - For details of individual events please visit their website - www.whitwellstation.com - or
AUGUST Sat - Sun MID-NORFOLK RAILWAY – Family Weekend & Teddy Bear Trains.
13th - 14th
20th Sat NORTH NORFOLK RAILWAY – Fish’n’Chip Real Ale Train.
Sat NENTA TRAINTOURS – “The Plymouth Invader”- From Norwich dep 0505 approx then via
21st stations to Hitchin to Taunton (for WSR), Exeter, Totnes (for SDSR) & Plymouth (optional
Plymouth Sound Harbour Cruise). Norwich return 0040 approx. Fares from £69.75. First Class &
Premier Class available. Details: www.nentatraintours.co.uk or telephone 01692-406152.
Sun BARTON HOUSE RAILWAY – Running Day 1430 – 1730 (weather permitting).
_________WORKING TIM ETABLE
AUGUST cont. MID-SUFFOLK LIGHT RAILWAY – Steam Railway Day 1100 – 1700.
26th - 29th Fri - Mon MID-NORFOLK RAILWAY – “Tanks & Tankards” – Beer Festival & GWR Steam Gala with visiting
28th Sun WHITWELL & REEPHAM RAILWAY – Bank Holiday (steam).
28th - 29th Sun - Mon MID-SUFFOLK LIGHT RAILWAY – “Rail’n’Ale Weekend” – 1100 – 1700.
2nd - 4th Fri - Sun NORTH NORFOLK RAILWAY – Grand Steam Gala.
4th Sun ASHMANHAUGH LIGHT RAILWAY - Running Day 1400 – 1700 (weather permitting).
4th Sun WHITWELL & REEPHAM RAILWAY – Steam Sunday.
9th - 11th Fri - Sun MID-NORFOLK RAILWAY – Autumn Diesel Gala.
10th Sat NORTH NORFOLK RAILWAY – Fish’n’Chip Real Ale Train.
10th - 11th Sat - Sun BURE VALLEY RAILWAY – “Steam in Miniature”- a celebration of steam on a small scale with
models in action and on display.
10th - 11th Sat - Sun MID-SUFFOLK LIGHT RAILWAY - Steam Railway Gala 1100 – 1700.
15th Thu NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY – “Members’ Summer Reports” – please bring a selection of
collated images, to last approximately 10 minutes – 1930.
17th Sat NENTA TRAINTOURS – “The Llandudno & Ffestiniog Rambler” – From Norwich dep 0505 approx
via Ipswich & Ely to Chester, Llandudno, Portmeirion (coach from Llandudno Junc) & Blaenau
Ffestiniog (for the Ffestiniog Railway). Norwich return 0015 approx. Fares from £69.75. First
Class & Premier Class available. Details: www.nentatraintours.co.uk or telephone 01692-
17th - 18th Sat - Sun NORTH NORFOLK RAILWAY – 1940s Weekend.
18th Sun BARTON HOUSE RAILWAY - Running Day 1430 – 1730 (weather permitting).
22nd Thu NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP - “Transport Toys” – David Cooke 1930.
29th Thu NORFOLK TRANSPORT GROUP – “Members’ Evening” – please bring your recent transport
images – 1930.
1st NORTH NORFOLK RAILWAY – Members’ & Shareholders’ Day.
1st Sat BROADLAND MODEL RAILWAY CLUB – Exhibition sponsored by the Bure Valley Railway at the
Jubilee Centre, Aylsham, NR11 6JG, 1000 – 1600.
2nd Sun ASHMANHAUGH LIGHT RAILWAY – Running Day 1400 – 1700 (weather permitting).
2nd Sun WHITWELL & REEPHAM RAILWAY - Steam Sunday.
2nd Thu NORFOLK RAILWAY SOCIETY – “The Great Northern Railway – Not Just Stirling Singles (Part
2)” – Allan Sibley 1930.
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